Maureen Price

AFTER

With the evolving sophistication of cell phone cameras, society, in general, seems to document the most mundane moments of life with never before seen regularity. I began to think about what it means to be a member of the last generation to be born before the advent of such ubiquitous photography. As a child, cameras only made an appearance on holidays, birthdays, or on the first day of school. The more I contemplated this change, the more my perspective on the importance of documenting everyday life began to widen and I started looking further into the past. My research took me back four hundred years. I dug through thousands of portraits and scenes of daily life in paintings. How were everyday people doing everyday things being portrayed?  

The amount of talent and effort required to paint a beautifully realistic scene of a woman simply carrying a tray is immense. The result of the time, passion, and energy of these artists provides us with an invaluable look into the past. It makes our own documentation of prosaic activities look downright lazy and thoughtless. That realization led me down the path to create this series. I decided to photograph my friends with all of the formality and planning of an eighteenth century painter but with a dose of modern humor. This project quickly became a meditation on the value of slowing down, relishing the details, and appreciating the efforts of the artists who came before us.